The federal treasurer’s “solution” to the housing affordability crisis is to get state governments to relax restrictions on housing developers to increase supply.

Scott Morrison told the industry’s peak body, the Urban Development Institute, on October 24 that “housing in Australia, especially in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, is expensive and increasingly unaffordable, but that does not mean it is overvalued.”

How can you have more affordable housing and keep prices up at the same time?

The answer is you can’t do both.

The Huttonham Estate in Preston was one of Victoria’s first public housing estates when it was built in the 1940s.

Once home to 60 families, the houses were demolished five years ago and the land has been untouched and vacant ever since.

Now the Victorian government has revealed plans to build 68 public housing units and an unknown number of privately-owned dwellings on the land.

Housing groups say the land should be used for its intended purpose of housing low-income residents amid skyrocketing property prices in Melbourne.

More than 1000 people marched through Circular Quay to The Rocks on September 17 to protest plans by the NSW state government to demolish the iconic Sirius public housing building. The march coincided with the declaration of a Green Ban by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).

CFMEU state secretary Brad Parker announced that the union was "officially imposing an interim Green Ban here today" on the site. The ban on any redevelopment of the Sirius means no unionised workforce will be allowed on the site, and pickets will be introduced when any work commences.

I have been made homeless twice in the past fifteen months and I am not the only one.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Census of Housing and Population (2011) revealed there were 26,238 homeless people between the age of 12 and 24. They make up 25% of Australia's homeless population, with women experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault making up the highest proportion of this age category.

Increased evidence of homelessness in Melbourne’s iconic graffiti laneway, Hosier Lane, has prompted outrage from government and local businesses in recent weeks.

The release of the Defence White Paper in February reveals the Malcolm Turnbull government sees engaging in a regional “arms race” and securing its borders as far higher priorities than guaranteeing our healthcare system, quality public education, housing and welfare entitlements.

While this thinking is nothing new and continues the trend of successive governments — both Coalition and Labor — the Turnbull government added an extra twist, in quarantining the defence budget so that it is protected from cuts if revenue decreases.

Action for Public Housing (APH) was launched at the Redfern Community Centre on June 24. The launch was addressed by Green Bans movement activists Jack and Judy Mundey, Aboriginal elder Jenny Munro and Associate Professor Michael Darcy. The meeting also watched short videos highlighting the history of community resistance to the destruction of public housing in the city.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, elected in May on a platform that combined pledging to defend ordinary citizens against a corrupt elite with carrying out extreme repression against drug users and other “criminals”, gave his inaugural state of the nation address on July 25. The statement below was released by the socialist Party of the Labouring Masses in response.

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Several hundred residents of inner-city Millers Point public housing and supporters marched from the Kent Street Fire Station to the Village Green in Argyle Place on March 19 to protest against the ongoing sell-off of their homes by the state government.

Unions, including the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), and the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), were well represented in the march.

Members of the Bendigo Street housing protest rallied in Melbourne on June 26 to demand affordable public housing and condemn the privatisation of public housing.

Victoria is facing a housing crisis, with more than 25,000 people homeless and 32,000 people on the waiting list for public housing.

There are an estimated 80,000 empty homes, including many compulsorily acquired by the government to build the East West Link that now remain empty.


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